Qatar Airways has maintained a flexible and agile network since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic although Covid-19 lockdowns have led to an almost complete standstill in airline travel worldwide.
The national airline helped bring over 1mn people home through its Doha hub and transport more than 100,000 tonnes of essential medical and aid supplies to where they are needed.
The airline maintained flights to at least 30 destinations where possible during the crisis even as it is beginning a phased approach to expanding its network in line with passenger demand evolution and the expected relaxation of entry restrictions around the world.
During the last five months, the national airline has seen many achievements including the commencement of the first stage of the strategic partnership with American Airlines as well as a deal in April with Standard Chartered for a $850mn financing in respect of seven Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
Qatar Airways has further enhanced its onboard safety measures for passengers and cabin crew. The airline is implementing several changes, including the introduction of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits for cabin crew while onboard, as well as a modified service that reduces interactions between the passengers and the crew inflight.
The cabin crew have already been wearing PPE during flights for a number of weeks, including gloves and face masks.
Qatar Airways’ aircraft feature the most advanced air filtration systems, equipped with industrial-size HEPA filters that remove 99.97% of viral and bacterial contaminants from re-circulated air, providing the most effective protection against infection.
All the airline’s onboard linen and blankets are washed, dried and pressed at microbial lethal temperatures, while its headsets are removed of ear foams and rigorously sanitised after each flight. These items are then sealed into individual packaging by staff wearing hygienic disposable gloves.
Meal service utensils and cutlery are washed with detergents and rinsed with demineralized fresh water at temperatures that kill pathogenic bacteria.
Recently, Qatar Airways said it will take full advantage of its diverse and efficient fleet with the right aircraft size to ensure the best fit for expected demand on each planned route.
By the end of June, the aim is to have 80 destinations in the schedule including 23 in Europe, four in the Americas, 20 in Middle East/Africa and 33 in Asia-Pacific. Many cities will be served with a strong schedule with daily or more frequencies.
The gradual expansion will focus initially on strengthening connections between the airline’s hub in Doha with the global hubs of its partner airlines around the world including London, Chicago, Dallas and Hong Kong along with reopening many major business and leisure destinations such as Madrid and Mumbai.
However, these are all subject to regulatory approval in countries concerned.
Qatar Airways codeshare with American Airlines will be rolled out in phases over the next few weeks and once completed, will see Qatar Airways’ code placed on over 1000 of American Airlines’ domestic flights connecting with Qatar Airways’ 10 US gateways.
The first phases of the codeshare will see Qatar Airways’ passengers able to book travel on American Airlines’ extensive domestic connections via Chicago (ORD) and Dallas (DFW) to 200 cities including Miami (MIA), Houston (IAH), Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), Minneapolis/St.Paul (MSP), Seattle (SEA), and San Francisco (SFO).
Additional cities, including destinations in Central America, and the Caribbean will be added, again subject to government approvals.